House of Vans Rocks Mexico City for ‘Share The Stage’ with Yungblud and Jessie Reyez

House of Vans Rocks Mexico City for ‘Share The Stage’ with Yungblud and Jessie Reyez

v136

House of Vans Rocks Mexico City for ‘Share The Stage’ with Yungblud and Jessie Reyez

The cult skateboard mecca tapped four unsigned artists to join the all-star duo for a sold-out concert series weekend.

The cult skateboard mecca tapped four unsigned artists to join the all-star duo for a sold-out concert series weekend.

Text: Kevin Ponce

When opened back in December of 2021, the House of Vans Mexico City location already made a splash in the bustling Latin hotspot, hoping to amplify the core ethos of Vans and get their global community of creatives, athletes, and music aficionados under one roof. That mission was surely accomplished once more this past weekend, as pop-punk prince Yungblud and Toronto-born songstress Jessie Reyez brought down the house, performing a slew of their greatest hits thus far and bringing their powerful artistry to the Latin scene. But, before dazzling audiences who crowded the venue’s skate rink and clung to the wall of the fully transformed historic Mexican villa, you may have noticed a few performers opening the sets of the two knockout music muses. As part of Vans’ “Share The Stage” series, a competition program launched by the sneaker powerhouse to help amplify and empower undiscovered talent from around the globe, the selection of musicians such as Argentine artist Lucia Tacchetti, São Paulo’s Joy Sales, Ireland’s Ruairí Richman aka  Lemonade Shoelace, and Atlanta-born and London-raised JoeJas were selected personally by Yungblud and flown out to CDMX for the opportunity to open for YungBlud and Reyez for a one-of-a-kind opportunity, and bringing a new range of tunes to the local crowds to discover and enjoy–serving as the ultimate culmination of Vans’ Musicians Wanted global music program.

Courtesy of Vans

As a community-focused installation that sees a long-term investment in the local Mexican area and overall Latin generation, curated with the help of the Vans brand, the beautifully restored and remixed location offers an abundance of exciting resources to the youth of Mexico, at no cost to them. Primarily a truly unique music venue, with an impressive capacity of 1200 and multi-stage platforms to showcase performances the most promising voices from across the world, as well as local acts and crowd favorites, the restored villa with its array of fully customized rooms includes artists workshops for painting, a gallery showcasing the latest works of Mexican artists, a movie theater to project the hottest independent films, a kitchen serving up a rotating blend of chefs from all over to bring their flair for unique cuisine to the kids of the neighborhood and not one, but two skating rinks for skaters to come by and shred their boards indoors and even on the roof.

Yungblud | Photography by Tom Pallant

As the exciting new cultural hub continues to fuel the creative fire of artists worldwide, V spoke with Marc Johns, Senior Director of Brand Marketing of Vans Americas, to get the lowdown on what led to the skater house landing in CDMX and how Vans fusing the world of skate culture with untapped musical artistry.

V Magazine: Could you talk to us about the concept behind House of Vans and how the idea came to its full fruition?

Marc Johns: The first House of Vans opened in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 2010. Since then, we have had House of Vans pop-up experiences everywhere from Johannesburg to Detroit, to São Paulo to Hong Kong as well. As permanent spaces in London (2014), Chicago (2017), and Mexico City (2021) opened, we’ve brought some incredible experiences to life over the years and aren’t slowing down anytime soon. You can learn a bit more about the House of Vans history via our ‘10 Years of House Of Vans’ summary  here. Our mission at Vans is to enable creative expression and inspire youth culture. With House of Vans we bring this to life through a tangible expression of our brand with a focus on community, music, art, and skateboarding. For us, it’s where “Off The Wall” lives. Whether you’re skating a bowl, attending an art installation, workshop, or concert, we want to inspire every person who comes to House of Vans to express their creativity.

V: What is the process like of finding/selecting the chosen artists for the “Share The Stage” series?

MJ: For the Americas, we had three tiers of chosen artists. There was a regional round where the top 10 were chosen for each country out of the 15,000 submissions. Those 100 artists, selected from 10 countries, were then reviewed by regional judges from the US, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. This determined our top 5 to send on to the global round of judging with our global judges (i.e. Yungblud). The process takes quite some time, but narrowing down to the top 5 and helping artists move forward in their careers has been incredibly rewarding.

Courtesy of Vans

V: With House of Vans CDMX having been opened since December, what progress/changes or activities have actually been implemented for the community?

MJ: House of Vans is a space that inspires and enables creative expression through our brand pillars - action sports, music, art and street culture. Our weekly programming focuses on positively impacting the local creative community. Some examples include: beat-making workshops with “Pinche Hype” to create a bridge between the electronic scene and those who wish to become a DJ or better their craft, ‘takeover’ sessions with the BMX & skate communities, open sessions in the skatepark, and more. We built House of Vans to be a safe space for everyone to express their creativity, no matter what their background.

V: What has the local response been like for the activation?

MJ: We're still building awareness around House of Vans CDMX as a permanent space. The local community that has attended has been incredibly supportive since we opened. Through activities like concerts, skate school, art and music workshops, and special events, we have had consistently high, recurring attendance. In the social space, we’ve gained 52K followers in just four months and consistent online engagement with our community.

Courtesy of Vans

V: How did the Vans team go about selecting the location for the House of Vans CDMX?

MJ: CDMX provides a unique opportunity for Vans to introduce itself to an incredible culture of creatives – a community we began forging relationships with through previous HOV events in the city. One of the reasons we chose the location was to go beyond the more obvious neighborhoods like Roma and Condesa, where you can usually find music, art, and street culture events. It took considerable time and effort to find the right space, but when we came across Casa Serralde, not only was it an architecturally significant building, but also well-known as the legendary rock venue, Bulldog Café, a groundbreaking space that held concerts for the biggest Mexican rock bands. Once we found it, we knew that being in Mixcoac in this particular space was a no-brainer.

V: What was the process of having the house fully customized with a movie theater, skatepark, etc, and gaining the town’s involvement/interest?

MJ: Vans four pillars (action sports, art, music and street culture) are the foundation of House of Vans. So we needed to think creatively to implement space for each pillar. A skatepark was a given, but the space didn't really allow for it. Remodeling this area of the House was the most significant and most rewarding challenge. The house didn't have a rooftop, but we decided one action sports area wasn't enough, so we made the third floor and built the kidney bowl. Music was immediately addressed with having a skateable stage and making a second one upstairs for emerging talent. An art gallery lets artists shine; however, the whole house is a canvas to showcase art and so murals came into place (with more room to paint overtime). Street culture has its spot with a kitchen ready for cooking workshops, a Checkerboard Hall where everyone who walks it can't help but take pictures, and a main bar referencing Mexican heritage with a Vans twist.

Jessie Reyez | Courtesy of Vans

V: In your own words, why is Vans the perfect brand to align this world of skate culture with untapped musical artistry and community awareness?

MJ: Off The Wall is a state of mind that guides our brand. Thinking differently – embracing creative self-expression – choosing your own line on your board and in your life. When kids snuck into empty backyard pools seeking to expand the limit of what could be done on skateboards, Off The Wall was born. With Musicians Wanted, we want to give opportunities to undiscovered, up-and-coming musicians who embrace self-expression but might not have the forum to share it with the world.

Credits: All Imagery Courtesy of House of Vans Mexico City

UP NEXT

Saint Laurent Live Session 07: Porches
Watch New York-based Porches preform for the Saint Laurent Live Session 07.